07/23/2001 11:00PM

Monarchos out till next year


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.- Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos, who earlier this month was diagnosed with a hairline fracture of his right knee, will not run again this year, trainer John Ward said Tuesday.

Ward said he hopes to put Monarchos in light training later this fall and point him to the series of handicap races at Gulfstream Park next winter. Monarchos won three races at Gulfstream - including the Grade 1 Florida Derby - en route to his authoritative victory in the Kentucky Derby.

While Ward said Monarchos could make it back later this year, "I don't think he'll be able to be in top form to come back for the [Breeders' Cup] Classic," he said. Speaking of next winter, Ward said, "the rest of the horses will be wrung-out animals, and we'll be a fresh horse."

Ward said it took Monarchos a good five weeks to get over the Triple Crown and has only recently begun to show signs of life.

"He shed that old coat of hair, he muscled up, and he's at the front of the stall with that twinkle in his eye," Ward said. "Hopefully, that twinkle doesn't mean he's going to run off to Albany on us. He can be mischievous."

While Monarchos will be on the sidelines, Ward still has Hero's Tribute for the summer's 3-year-old races. Hero's Tribute, winner of the Peter Pan and runner-up in the Dwyer, will run next in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth on Aug. 5.

Meanwhile, Ward said that Holiday Thunder, another promising 3-year-old who was injured earlier this year, arrived in Saratoga on Tuesday. Monday, he breezed four furlongs in 47 seconds at Keeneland. Holiday Thunder, a son of Thunder Gulch, hasn't raced since finishing sixth in the Fountain of Youth, a race in which he bled.

Holiday Thunder is still eligible for all of his allowance conditions. Ward said Holiday Thunder would probably run at Saratoga, where he won his maiden at first asking last August.